Research Opportunities for Managing the Department of Energy’s Transuranic and Mixed Waste pdf

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Research Opportunities for Managing the Department of Energy’s Transuranic and Mixed Waste by NRC pdf

Research Opportunities for Managing the Department of Energy’s Transuranic and Mixed Waste by NRC pdf free download. The production of nuclear materials for the national defense, beginning in the 1940s and continuing until the end of the Cold War, led to the accumulation of large quantities of radioactive wastes at sites throughout the country. Site cleanup is now a major, long-term task for the Department of Energy (DOE). Transuranic waste and mixed lowlevel waste are contaminated with relatively low amounts of actinide isotopes or fission products, respectively, and with hazardous chemicals.

Research Opportunities for Managing the Department of Energy’s Transuranic and Mixed Waste by NRC pdf

These wastes include such diverse materials as process residues, construction debris, equipment, and trash. Early on these wastes were
buried in trenches and landfills or managed by the use of seepage and evaporation ponds. These practices were recognized as inadequate,
and since 1970 these wastes have been stored for retrieval, mostly in 55-gallon drums (see cover photo). The stored inventory totals about 155,000 cubic meters, the equivalent of about three-quarters of a million drums. At least some of the approximately 500,000 cubic meters of buried waste will be retrieved.

Research Opportunities for Managing the Department of Energy’s Transuranic and Mixed Waste by NRC pdf

Ongoing DOE site cleanup efforts, such as stabilizing highly radioactive tank wastes and decommissioning production facilities, will result in further accumulation of transuranic and mixed wastes. Transuranic waste, which makes up more than two-thirds of the stored inventory and nearly a third of the buried inventory, is destined for permanent disposal in the Waste Isolation Pilot Plant, in a deep-underground salt formation in New Mexico. Mixed low-level waste will be disposed in licensed near-surface facilities operated by private contractors, although some will be disposed at DOE sites.

Research Opportunities for Managing the Department of Energy’s Transuranic and Mixed Waste by NRC pdf

To help reduce costs and accelerate the schedule of its overall site cleanup program, DOE is making a concerted effort to retrieve and dispose of transuranic and mixed wastes as rapidly as possible. However, work with these wastes is only beginning, and it will continue for at least 20 years. Many current procedures are cumbersome and expensive. For example, each 55-gallon drum, or other container, must be handled individually several times to determine its contents and prepare it for shipment and disposal.

Research Opportunities for Managing the Department of Energy’s Transuranic and Mixed Waste by NRC pdf

Any efficiencies or added effectiveness that can be gained in these procedures will reduce labor and potential risks to workers, lower costs, and accelerate the schedule. To enable such endeavors, basic research is considered a vital tool. The Congress recognized the essentiality of research and in 1995 chartered the Environmental Management Science Program (EMSP) to bring the nation’s scientific capability to bear on the difficult, long-term cleanup challenges facing DOE.

Research Opportunities for Managing the Department of Energy’s Transuranic and Mixed Waste by NRC pdf

Research Opportunities for Managing the Department of Energy's Transuranic and Mixed Waste by NRC pdf

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